Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Star Passage Book Two: Heroes and Martyrs by Clark Rich Burbidge - REVIEWED

About the Book:
The award-winning StarPassage saga continues with the relic guiding the Carsons to a new and desperate family. Two brothers, Bobby and Mike, are struggling after a tragic accident turns their world upside down.

Join our heroes on a series of dangerous adventures to solve the relic’s riddles, save lives, escape the ever-increasing Tracker threat, and experience some of the most dreadful and exciting moments in history.

Will they learn from the past–should they change it if they can? Is there any hope for survival?

My Thoughts: 
Just remember, this may be tough, but easy isn’t always good.”  (p.89)

The second book in the Star Passage series delivers another homerun!  The premise of the story rests upon the Carsons using the star of passage to help others.  The two brothers they are directed to are dealing with the painful fallout of a totally random accident.  Like everyone, both brothers are trying to find a reason for the accident, lay blame on themselves….but their encounter with Tim and Marty and the star of passage reveals truths to them that change their entire world!

Once again, the characters travel to major points in history.  The lessons learned are always timeless, but are always helpful to the life lessons that are being experienced by the travelers. Mike and Bobby become dear to the reader’s heart as the story develops, and although they experience some dangerous and exciting things as they travel, they seem to grow stronger in their faith and their relationship with one another by the end of the story.

I can’t forget one important detail…the Trackers.  These displaced spirits take on a more deadly aspect in the second story of this series, and they promise to be more of a threat than ever.  I’m not really looking forward to the role it seems they are headed toward in future novels.  I think the complexity of the stories will only grow and develop in fantastic ways!

Clark Burbidge has created a young adult series filled with action, adventure, faith and a bit of history for good measure. This is a novel that is hard to put down!  I can’t wait to see what happens next! 

About the Author:
Clark Burbidge was born and raised in the mountain valleys of the Rockies. He earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS from the University of Utah. Clark and his wife, Leah, live near Salt Lake City, Utah, where they enjoy their blended family of ten children and five grandchildren. StarPassage is Clark's seventh book. His award-winning works include the Giants in the Land trilogy and A Piece of Silver: A Story of Christ.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Every Deadly Kiss by Seven James - REVIEWED

About the Book:
In the latest installment of the Bowers Files, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers grapples with a baffling series of murders in Detroit—and discovers a terror plot whose roots stretch back centuries.

Called in by an ex-girlfriend to consult on a case, Patrick encounters the work of a killer who displays a stunning degree of ruthlessness. Bowers is shocked to find that the slayings are linked not just to his own history with a known terrorist, but to his former lover as well—and that her secret past might hold the key to stopping the crime spree. As layers of intrigue peel away, the city is pushed ever closer to a seemingly-unstoppable bioweapon attack.

Unnerving and laced with breathtaking suspense, Every Deadly Kiss is a surprising and complex thriller that will have readers obsessed to the final page.

My Thoughts:
You looked pretty good in there to me.” (p. 539)

Sounds like a very common statement, right?  Well, like every word in Steven James’ latest novel, Every Deadly Kiss, contains layers upon layers of meaning!  I’ve read every word James has every written, and I think I can safely say this novel is one of the most complex stories I’ve ever read from his pen!  There is a rogue serial killer that passes through shadows, and you are never quite sure who it is.  There is a homegrown terror threat that is insidious and makes you absolutely tremor with fright because it is so incredibly plausible!

So, dive in if you dare!  Honestly I adore Patrick Bowers now more than ever!  I have to say, I am VERY thankful this series is being read as a glance back into his history, otherwise I might just have a heart attack!  This is a novel with so many twists and turns that I was almost tempted to take notes at one point.  Seriously, this is a very complex plot line, but it is so well-written, and the characters are so believable that the pages evaporate so fast you are almost breathless by the end!  There were a couple of times I wanted to smack Patrick because of how careless he was in his decision making in regards to his partner, but I have trust issues, so I didn’t let that take away from my delight in his overall greatness.

I refuse to give away any spoilers.  Just trust me when I say you need to read this book NOW!!  What are you waiting for?

PS...I must be consistent....there are a few language moments - as in vulgarities - that appear in this book that have previously be absent.  I am trusting James will not continue this trend.  

About the Author:
Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH--a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold. 

If you've never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven's book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he "sets the new standard in suspense writing." Publishers Weekly calls him a "master storyteller at the peak of his game." And RT Book Reviews promises, "the nail-biting suspense will rivet you."

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, "Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God's leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last
Virginia, 1864
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love-whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor-ever fit in her broken world?
Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot's life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she's finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family's legacy, she must risk all that she's gained-her fresh start, her family's trust, and her growing relationship with a new man-to unlock the secrets of the past.
Learn more and purchase your copy HERE.
My Thoughts:
This is a story that readers from all genres will love! There is mystery and history layered so tightly that you almost forget where present day ends and history begins.  No surprise that the link between the past and present reveal some profound and eternal truths about the longing each of us has to know and understand our place in time.  History always effects our present, but being brave enough to change the present into something better is not without its pitfalls
I think greed, pride and the longing to do what is best for all are just a few of these pitfalls, and the choices that lie before Nicole as she re-enters life as a recovering addict closely mirror those faced by her predecessor as she is forced to make decisions during a time in history that was utterly divided over slavery.
You will be left slack-jawed at each woman's discovery!  Clark and Gould make a very effective writing duo, and I highly recommend this novel to everyone!!
About the Authors:

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania.
Find out more about Mindy Starns at http://mindystarnsclark.com.

Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including "Beyond the Blue" and "Garden of Dreams." She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.

Find out more about Leslie at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Coffee the World and Jesus but not Necessarily in that Order by Ron DiMiglio - REVIEWED

About the Book:

Life lessons and almost irreverent musings from twenty-five years in the global coffee industry
When many Christians take a long, hard look at the lives of the spiritual elite in America, they want to shout, "I don't want to be like that!" Ron DeMiglio knows how they feel and he's not afraid to do the shouting—even when those shouts are sometimes directed at himself.
Coffee, the World, and Jesus is a collection of mildly contrarian musings from this international coffee businessman who happens to love Jesus. In these humorous vignettes about the relational, flawed, unwavering faith Ron clings to, readers will find glimmers of their own daily struggles to reflect Christ in a fallen world. For the religiously cautious, the disillusioned, and jaded followers of Christianity, this is a refreshing look at how God reveals Himself to be so much bigger than politics, dogmas, or western influences.
Ron's sidesplitting series of stories about how he found his spiritual groove smack-dab in the middle of his God-breathed, coffee-scented uniqueness will appeal to readers looking for a quick bite of spiritual growth with their next latte.

My Thoughts:

I was made in God’s image.  I was not asked to make God into the image of my knowledge, politics, heritage, or cultural familiarity.”  (p. 122)

Ron DiMiglio may be a coffee connoisseur who has traveled the globe building an international coffee brand, but he has a faith that is as raw and real as the coffee beans he roasts and drinks.  To read his book is very much like the dark, hearty brew he sells – it lures you in with words that are bold and enticing.  He shares his life experiences through the lens of his personal relationship with Christ, but also through a solid foundation of who he is in Christ.

I felt as though I’d been sitting in a coffee shop with a close friend as I read DiMiglio’s book. I would get totally engrossed in the story he was relating to me and WHAM! Truth would smack me in the heart and I’d pause and say (sometimes out loud), “Wow! That was good!”  His insights gained through his experiences in the coffee industry place a magnifying glass on the day to day reality of living life as we were created to do – in the image of our Creator, uniquely designed to show His reflection to the world.

I think this book is going to speak clearly to a generation desperate to hear a realistic daily dose of faith.  My 24-year-old son actually read this before I did and enthusiastically encouraged me to give a copy to his brother.  He even read many chapters aloud to me on a road trip, and kept exclaiming over every  chapter and how he was encouraged to walk out his own faith journey in practical ways.

This is a unique book, and I think God will use it to create a hunger for a deeper relationship with Christ – especially in a generation that is already walking away from Christ in massive numbers.  I highly recommend this book!  It will challenge and encourage you in surprising ways! 

About the Author:

Ron DeMiglio is the former president and owner of Eko Brands, LLC. The past twenty-five years of his life have centered around coffee as he traveled around the world. Coffee, the World, and Jesus, but Not Necessarily in That Order, is his first book.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Secrets by Jonathan Daugherty - Reveiwed

About the Book:
Everyone has a secret or two, a part of their life they would rather not share with the rest of the world.
But for Jonathan Daugherty, his secret was so life-altering and relationship-ending that he fought to keep it hidden at all costs. And it did cost him. His secret kept him from contentment, peace, and the possibility of being known and loved for who he truly is. That's what any secret addiction can do-but in particular a sex addiction.
After his wife finally discovered his secret, their marriage appeared to be over. In Secrets, Jonathan honestly and courageously shares his story of addiction to pornography and how he lost everything to it.
But that's not how the story ends. While Jonathan struggled, someone else was at work-his heavenly Father. At the lowest possible moment of his life, God stepped in and brought him hope and healing. This is a story of both loss and redemption that gives hope to anyone who has ever experienced the power and struggle of addiction and its life-destroying effects.
Addiction doesn't have the final say over Jonathan's life or in his marriage. The God who finds the lost, heals the sick, and brings life from death has the last, victorious word.
-A courageous, honest and open account of life as a sex addict and how sex addiction destroys marriages.
-A life-affirming and personal story of recovery and redemption that will inspire readers.
-Offers hope to all who struggle with pornography and sex addiction.
-Each chapter includes a "Living in the Light" section designed to equip and help readers find freedom from addiction.
-Suitable as a study for support groups of addicts and those who care about them.
My Thoughts:
But by keeping secrets our lives tend to drift off course.  We hide our flaws and overly accentuate our strengths, believing this will enhance our lives and relationships.”   - Daugherty
This statement, found at the beginning of Jonathan Daugherty’s book, Secrets, encapsulates the darkness that couches sexual addiction.  Secrets ARE deadly, and sexual addiction is one of the deadliest tools in the enemy’s arsenal right now. 

I chose to review this book because sexual addiction ended 20+ years of marriage in my life.  I wanted to read this book and rip it to shreds, because I simply couldn’t believe a man could be healed from this terrible addiction.  So, Secrets proved to be as healing to me as it is certain to be to anyone fighting this particular battle.  It was as if God pulled back the curtain to show me that healing is possible and what the end-result can look like when someone chooses to walk the path toward healing and deliverance.

I will admit there were some passages in this book that were very painful to read.  However, at the end of each chapter, there are questions that, although meant to be considered by the one struggling with addiction, proved to be challenging and enlightening to me as well.  No matter which side of the relationship you fall on, if you have encountered this addiction in any way, there is healing to be found in the pages of this book.

AND, there is a ministry called Be Broken associated with Jonathan Daugherty, and I’ve contacted them as well. They minister to both the men struggling and their wives.  This is the real deal – the total package – this is a place of healing and hope!!  I am grateful to God for this book and Praise God for all of the lives that are going to be forever transformed through the pages of this book!

About the Author:
Jonathan Daugherty is the founder of Be Broken Ministries, and founder of Gateway to Freedom workshop for men. He also hosts the weekly radio broadcast, Pure Sex Radio, and is in demand nationally as a speaker on sexual purity and men s issues. He has appeared on multiple radio and television media, both local and national. He has authored "Grace-Based Recovery," "The 4 Pillars of Purity," and other works. Jonathan lives with his wife and three children in San Antonio, Texas.
Find out more about Jonathan at http://www.jonathandaugherty.com.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Season of Heartbreak by Mark Gregory Karris - REVIEWED

About the Book:
After a devastating breakup, many people--Christians included--are left heartbroken, lonely, confused, even devoid of hope. The grief of losing a romantic partner is often similar to that experienced after the death of a loved one. Yet, too often, friends, family, and the church see these breakups as trivial events.

As a therapist, Mark Karris sees the devastation in the wake of this loss every day. He knows that the pain isn't inconsequential. He also knows that insights and principles are not enough to help heal the shattered hearts of those who are grieving. Moving past platitudes and into action, Season of Heartbreak pulls from a variety of spiritual practices:
Contemplative prayer
Being loved by others
An original four-step transformational practice

Readers can learn to progress gracefully through the journey of heartbreak, and will pick up the emotional equipment to confront and move through loss in other areas of their life to come.

My Thoughts:
God desires that you be confident and free to shout from the rooftops – whether to your ex, to your circumstances, or to your own inner critic – the truth of Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  (p. 206) 

Mark Gregory Karris writes from a healed place.  He has walked through heartache and learned how to trust God with his heart despite what circumstances tell his heart.  This sounds pretty simple, right?  Something that a lot of other people have written about.  I think what sets Karris’ book apart is that throughout this book he pauses to identify the difficulty of the journey through the season of heartbreak.  He recognizes that it takes time.  He acknowledges the hard work required to move through heartbreak to healing.  He does this in a way that feels personal and makes the reader feel as though they are listening to the heart of a dear friend.
Unlike many authors, Karris talks about the choice to remain single in light of the freedom to pursue God without any of the hindrances presented by relationships.  That is honest.  He chose to marry, and wrote from his place of brokenness – more than seven years past his season of heartbreak.  It takes time to heal, but you can trust God with your healing.  We must be as faithful to pursue His heart as He is to pursue ours!

I chose to read this book, because my season of heartbreak came at the end of 23 years of marriage.  In some ways, I’m still healing.  But I can say without hesitation that Karris’ book brings healing.  He trusts God’s word and His promises to the exclusion of his circumstances.  I am happy to recommend this book to anyone walking through a season of heartbreak – whatever the source of the heartbreak.  There is healing to be found in the pages of this book.

About the Author:
Mark Gregory Karris is a family advocacy and support specialist for the United States Navy. He is also an ordained pastor, licensed marriage and family therapist, and worship leader. He and his wife live in Yokosuka, Japan. Visit him at markgregorykarris.com.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl - REVEIEWED

About the Book:
Kate O'Brien's quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she's been in witness protection ever since.

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn't the murderer, she's subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis. 

Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate's beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

My Thoughts:
Playing dead was harder than she could have ever imagined. “  (p. 7)

From the opening line of Nancy Mehl’s latest book, Dark Deception, to the closing line…

It was time to get back to business as usual.”  (p. 305)

The reader has embarked on quite the thrill ride!  Suffice it to say that Mehl gives a new definition to the word deception in this novel!!  Good grief!!  I guess serial killers possess an unusual type of brilliance, because the Blue Eyed Killer puts so many layers between himself and his victims that at some point, you almost find yourself needed to open your own case file to keep up with the ever-changing twists and turns!

I am certain that Kate O’Brien will spend the rest of her life seeing a good psychiatrist on a regular basis before she will be able to function as a healthy adult in society again.  She has seen and experienced and lost so much in a short amount of time, that she will remain emotionally fragile for the foreseeable future. (despite the fact that she has the heart of one U.S. marshal in her back pocket) 

Suffice it to say, this was an intense read.  If you enjoy legal/police thrillers, don’t wait another moment to dive into this series!  You will be completely swept away and thoroughly entertained!  The characters are well developed and very likable – with believable flaws as well as strengths.  There is a good balance between all of the arms of law enforcement represented, and the end result is believable.  This is an excellent read and one I am happy to recommend!

About the Author:

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of twenty-seven books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.